Isis: The power positioning deal

The big cell adhesion deal between Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH is one of only a handful of transactions in which pharma and biotech companies have combined R&D programs. But more are likely to follow, as companies seek power positions in the new pharmaceutical environment by combining broad platform technologies or building disease management portfolios.

The companies last week announced that they had signed a letter of intent to combine Boehringer's monoclonal antibody programs in cell adhesion with ISIP's antisense and small molecule combinatorial chemistry programs in that area. The collaboration is focused on inflammatory diseases.

Combining strengths

The program therefore will combine Boehringer's strengths in MAbs, small molecules, molecular and cell biology and high throughput screens, with ISIP's antisense and combinatorial chemistry expertise.